School started today. I’m not there. As the school bus made its round through the neighborhood this morning, I headed out of town for the sand and sea. I’m writing this from my beach chair, glancing up occasionally at the pelicans as they fly past a cornflower blue sky.
I am not a teacher anymore. I quit in order to build the life I wanted. For a while, teaching was the life I wanted (you can read about how that changed here). I actually quit back in 2019 and am starting my fourth year out.
When I left, I sensed a mixture of envy and scorn from some my colleagues. Several felt as though I should just stick around a few more years, hating my life while collecting a check and building up a better retirement. But what kind of life is that?
Some envied me because I had the guts and the good fortune to do what they did not; taking a chance on my future, and passing up financial stability in exchange for freedom and happiness.
My wife has a decent job and can support us while I build income in a different way. I know I’m lucky in that respect. But I also know that you create your own luck. Rather than just sit back and accept my situation, I chose to take a chance and fix it.
It’s not perfect. My income is volatile and never guaranteed. As a musician and writer my financial contribution to the family is much smaller than it was as a teacher, but there are other ways to contribute to family life, and there are other ways of being besides what your job dictates. Not everybody gets this, and I hate to see people struggling with this difference.
You are not your job, and you are not your job’s bitch.
Instead, I think we should make life our bitch by not accepting the unacceptable and by having the courage to take a chance on happiness no matter the financial implications.
I know sometimes this just isn’t possible. But for many of us, it is more possible than we may think. There’s most likely a big difference between how much money we think we need, and how much we actually need.
If you don’t like where you are in life right now, take a look at things. Figure out why you’re unhappy. Allow yourself to imagine what you want your life to look like and make a plan to get there. Then, like a skydiver, jump out of the airplane, pull the ripcord and work as best you can for a smooth landing.
While my former colleagues may be grading papers tonight, I’ll be driving home from the beach. While they’re in the classroom tomorrow, I’ll be reviewing tracks for my recording session tomorrow night.
I don’t mean to assume that everyone hates their job. But if you’re someone who does, force yourself to look deeply at how much of your life is being spent in an unfulfilling way, then challenge yourself to make the necessary changes.
Time is life.
How you spend your time is how you spend your life. You deserve to be happy and fulfilled in spending yours.